On Monday 29th October 29 girls and 3 staff flew into Keflavik to begin their Icelandic adventure.
Upon arrival our senses were bashed by icy brisk winds, the kind that almost knock you off your feet, makes you giggling and inhibits correct formation of any word as your mouth numbs.
“Well now we know we’re in Iceland”
We took a short bus journey, driving past lava fields to our first stop the ‘Bridge between Continents’. This bridge spans a fissure acknowledged to be the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs through Iceland. Crossing this symbolic bridge, we began to realise the effects of continental drift. The impact of continental drift was clarified and viewed throughout our time in Iceland. We visited Reykjanesviti & Valahnukur Reykjanesviti, Iceland’s oldest lighthouse. We had a picnic lunch perched upon grassy banks overlooking this stunning stretch of coastline displaying nature’s awesome force, destructive waves, shaping this island formed from lava. That evening we stayed in Reykjavik.
Tuesday: After a goodnight sleep, we awoke to find snow had fallen in the highlands. In the morning, we visited a geothermal power station nestled at the foot of snow peaked volcanic mountains. Upon approach it looked like a cloud making machine as it puffed out stream rising through the ranks to the higher stratosphere. Our complete fascination was held tight by the ingenuity of the Icelandic people as the history, mechanics and implementation of geothermal power was explained. After a play in the snow, we made a quick visit to a greenhouse town to be thrust about in darkness in an earthquake simulator. Very funny! After lunch we donned our helmets and crampons, held an ice axe each ready to explore the frozen glacier tongue of Solheimajokull; a wonderland of ice sculptures, ridges and deep crevasses. We then went on a drive by Mt Hekla Iceland’s most active volcano. That evening we went for a night walk in the hope of seeing the Arora Borealis. No such luck, I think we sacred it away with our rendition of our school song whilst performing gymnastics in a dark field in the middle of nowhere. Bonkers, but great fun!
Wednesday ‘Halloween’: We drove along the black volcanic southern coastline stopping at Dyrholaey and Reynishverfi to see a plethora of coastal features formed by erosion. Whilst on the beach we witnessed a magical sunrise over the ocean and played on the magnificent basalt columns and in caves. Then, we visited Seljalandsfoss a waterfall that spills 60 meters over a basalt cliff and walked into a gorge looking up at the fall. In the afternoon, we saddled up and trekked on purebred Icelandic horses. (These were gorgeous and fluffy. We all want one for Christmas)! That night, dressed in our Halloween costumes, we played games and went for a spooky night walk. With no cloud in the sky, we were illuminated by millions of stars and…….the Arora Borealis! We could not believe our luck!
Thursday: In the morning we went swimming in the Secret Lagoon, a natural hot springs located in the small village of Flúðir. With steam rising into the air, the place has a magical feeling. The water stays at 38-40 °C all year round and is perfect for bathing. We visited Gullfoss a double waterfall that drops around 33m then plunges into a mile-long gorge. It is stunning and one of Iceland’s most photographed waterfalls. We were very excited about visiting the geysers and it did not disappoint. ‘Strokkur’ erupts every 5-7 minutes reaching a height of around 30m. We got a little wet and took some fantastic photographs. Later that day we walked through Thingvellir National Park where Iceland’s parliament was established in 930AD. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge scours it and the rift valley is clearly visible where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates pull apart at around 2cm a year. That evening we put on our glad rags and hit the Hamburger factory to feast and celebrate our amazing tour.
We left Iceland completely immersed in its awe and wonder!